319: Clotel

Beautiful doll

Synopsis “The first novel published by an African-American, Clotel takes up the story, in circulation at the time, that Thomas Jefferson fathered an illegitimate mulatto daughter who was sold into slavery. Powerfully reimagining this story, and weaving together a variety of contemporary source materials, Brown fills the novel with daring escapes and encounters, as well as searing depictions of the American slave trade. An innovative and challenging work of literary invention, Clotel is receiving much renewed attention today.”

The Good

  • There are a lot of oh snap moments.  This book adequately addresses and refutes all the pro-slavery arguments.  I usually hear the bible scripture about how a slave should obey their master. But, I never have ever heard the counter scripture that refutes that scripture. A lot of the ideas that Williams Wells Brown writes about is ideas that we believe today. I was surprised in a way to see these ideas presented during this time period. The way that history is taught sometimes makes me believe that people during these times would not think certain ways.
  • Poems I like how the poems were integrated into the story. Using the poems at the beginning of chapters is a common practice in classic novels. William Wells Brown uses a poem at the beginning and end of the chapters.
  • The non-fiction elements add to the story.  William Wells Brown uses real stories in Clotel. The non-fiction elements add realism to the story.
  • To see a classic novel that show African-American characters who are not a stereotyped or offensive is so nice.

The Bad

I personally avoid slavery books most of the time because I assume that they are going to be depressing. It was not depressing for many reasons. One of the reasons it was not depressing is I felt a wall that stopped me from connecting with the characters. I wish that the story would have gotten into their personal lives. Instead the story jumps from one character to another only offering a snippet of what happened to progress the story.

Book Cover

My next idea is using a doll on the cover to represent Clotel. One of the important things is her light to the point that she can pass as white skin tone. That is a very important aspect to the novel.

My other idea was for her to wear a suit which she does not  necessarily have to wear in this idea. I think that black dolls need to be on book covers more in general.Aether


Author: themollyweather

I like to read, a lot.

One thought on “319: Clotel”

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